This Banksy-like figure, nicely painted in a delicate, ghostly, air-brushed style, is on a wall adjacent to the big Rite-Aid parking lot at the southwest corner of Fairfax and Sunset. I was pulling out yesterday on the bike and happened to notice it. Whoever painted this certainly isn’t trying to snag a lot of attention. It’s way off to the side and smaller than life. If it’s not a real Banksy it’s a pretty good imitation.
During an interview on last night’s Real Time with Bill Maher, former Hollywood Reporter editor Janice Min said something that I’m not allowed to say for fear of being accused of being some kind of Harvey Weinstein or Roman Polanski ally, which I’m not. The thing that Janice said (and my heart skipped a beat when she blurted it out) was “I feel like we’re in a little bit of a Robespierre French Revolution time period.”
Translation: We’re seeing the beginnings of a movie-industry version of “the terror,” or a period in post-revolutionary France over a ten-month period (September 1793 to July 1794) that was marked by mass executions of “enemies of the revolution.” I don’t want to go out on a crazy limb but a distant cousin of this mentality is alive and well in Hollywood right now, and the Robespierre figures are…Jesus, I’m afraid to mention their names. I guess I’m not much of a Danton-esque figure, huh?
Note to Robespierres: I wouldn’t have mentioned this analogy, guys, if it hadn’t been for Janice Min. I would have stayed shivering and huddling in my little mouse hole, trust me, but Janice mentioned the unmentionable. I agree that all sexual predators must be identified, shamed and prosecuted, but Robespierre-like tendencies are worth watching out for.
Bill Maher: “SNL didn’t do Harvey Weinstein jokes, and got shit about it. James Corden did some and he got shit about it. So which is it? Aren’t publicists telling their clients not to talk about it…?
Janice Min: “Oh, terrifying! I feel like we’re in a little bit of a Robespierre French Revolution time period.”
Bill Maher: “I would say every week. The purity police, yes.”
The good stuff begins around the 8:05 mark:
There’s an interesting “Making Barry Lyndon” doc on Criterion’s new Barry Lyndon Bluray. Newly produced by Criterion and running 38 minutes, it features interviews with producer Jan Harlan, Kubrick assistant Leon Vitali, assistant directors Brian Cook and Michael Stevenson, and actor Dominic Savage. It also uses audio clips from a 1976 interview with The Great Stanley K..
But you know what it doesn’t include? Interviews with the once immensely popular Ryan O’Neal as well as costar Marisa Berenson, both of whom are still with us and walking around and doing things. And that seems strange to me, especially in the case of O’Neal. There’s no argument that Barry Lyndon is O’Neal’s most admired film by far, or that a semi-exalted place in cinema history is assured O’Neal because of it. And yet when the classiest, most blue-chippy Bluray distributor in the world comes calling (as they surely must have), O’Neal refuses to sit down and share recollections?
I suspected at first that O’Neal might not have participated due to illness, as I’d read five years ago that he was dealing with prostate cancer and lukemia. But O’Neal rebounded, at least to the extent that he’s now planning (or was recently planning) to costar in a U.K. tour of A.R. Gurney’s Love Letters with Love Story costar Ali McGraw. (One of the bookings will happen at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre from 11.13 thru 11.18.)
I don’t know when the “Making Barry Lyndon” interviews were captured, but probably last winter or spring, or at the very latest early summer. O’Neal couldn’t afford three or four hours to sit down and chat? Health concerns aside, the only other reason O’Neal would have said “no” is that 42 years later he’s still smarting over the public’s generally lethargic reaction to Barry Lyndon, and that he still believes that the film all but killed his career.
O’Neal spent over a year shooting Barry Lyndon. Principal photography took 300 days, from spring 1973 through early 1974 with a break for Christmas. Alas, the film was considered a commercial disappointment and even suffered a mixed critical reception, and O’Neal, poor fellow, won a Harvard Lampoon Award for the Worst Actor of 1975. O’Neal claimed here and there that his career never recovered from the film’s reception. “Oh, it’s all right but [Kubrick] completely changed the picture during the year he spent editing it,” O’Neal told Gene Siskel in a 1984 interview.
Last night I finally had a look at Criterion’s Rebecca Bluray, which has been circulating since 9.5. The second disc contains a discussion by film historian and visual-effects maestro Craig Barron about Rebecca‘s visual strategies and “trick” effects. Barron knows his stuff except for one nagging little thing. 10 or 12 times he mispronounces Manderley, the name of Maxim de Winter‘s grand Cornwall mansion, as “Mandalay.”
The odd thing is that the Criterion guys who shot and edited this visual essay didn’t notice the boo-boo. If they had, they could have simply asked Barron to drop by a recording studio somewhere and say “Manderley” a couple of dozen times into a microphone, and then loop in the correct pronunciation. No biggie. Or maybe they noticed the error but decided not to shell out the extra coin.
Criterion is supposed to be Tiffany-level, the gold standard of home video — letting a mistake like this slide is unbecoming.
From an allegedly official Phantom Thread synopsis: “Set in the glamour world of 1950s post-war London, renowned dressmaker Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis) and his sister Cyril (Lesley Manville) are at the center of British fashion — dressing royalty, movie stars, heiresses, socialites, debutantes and dames with the distinct style of The House of Woodcock.
“Women come and go through Woodcock’s life, providing the confirmed bachelor with inspiration and companionship until he comes across a young, strong-willed woman, Alma (Vicky Krieps), who soon becomes a fixture in his life as his muse and lover. Once controlled and planned, Reynolds finds his carefully tailored life disrupted by love.
“With his latest film, Paul Thomas Anderson paints an illuminating portrait, both of an artist on a creative journey and the women who keep his world running. Phantom Thread is Paul Thomas Anderson’s eighth movie, and his second collaboration with Daniel Day-Lewis.”
What happened to the high-strung gay or bisexual aspect that Vulture‘s Kyle Buchanan wrote about on 6.7.16? The rumble had been that PTA’s fashion-world film was loosely based on the life and career of Charles James, a renowned couturier who peaked from the late ’40s to early ’60s. James married Nancy Lee Gregory, a rich Kansas socialite, but was commonly understood to be gay.
It would seem that Reynolds Woodcock isn’t based on James at all except for the designing thing. “The women who keep his world running”?
Second verse, same as the first.
Early this morning Joe Scarborough and the conservative guy on the right side of the screen assessed their appearance before heading off to work. They both said to themselves as they stood before the bathroom mirror, “Yeah, I look pretty good.” And yet only one of them did in terms of their ties. Obviously Scarborough’s tie is natty and cool, and the fat red tie worn by the conservative guy is pretty close to ridiculous. It’s almost a scarf or a shawl. Anyone who wears a big fat red blanket around their neck is (a) almost certainly a right-winger and (b) probably has some kind of screw loose. And it’s not just guys. Conservative women love red also (overcoats, dresses). I’ve never worn a red tie (fat, medium or skinny) in my entire life.
I liked Tootsie as far as it went, but I was never over-the-moon about it. And I never understood the screaming hilarity that greeted Bill Murray‘s kicker at the end of Dustin Hoffman‘s big wig-removing scene — “That is one nutty hospital.” I realized, of course, that it was intended to stop the show, but the first time I watched Tootsie at the Zeigfeld all-media I didn’t even come close to laughing. I just went “uh-huh, okay, not bad.” What’s the definition of a great kicker line? One that you laugh or at least smile at even though you’ve heard it 35 or 40 times. “So we’re even,” “Nobody’s perfect,” “Because I just went gay all of a sudden!,” “Traffic was a bitch,” etc.
During a 10.19 podcast in Austin with “Dudley and Bob with Matt,” the fearless and legendary Sean Young passed along two noteworthy sexual harassment anecdotes from the early to mid ’90s, one involving Harvey Weinstein and the other concerning Barbra Streisand.
The Harvey thing is funny but almost a so-whatter. If you ask me the Streisand story is the eye-opener.
Young claimed that Harvey whipped out his gross animal member sometime before, during or after the making of Miramax’s Love Crimes, and that her response was ‘You know, Harvey, I really don’t think you should be pulling that thing out…it’s not very pretty.'”
During a pre-production interview with Streisand about a role in The Mirror Has Two Faces (’96), Young claims that Streisand harshly criticized her for talking to the press about having been sexually harassed by Warren Beatty during the making of Dick Tracy. (Beatty has denied the incident.) “I think it’s disgusting that you talked to the press!” Streisand allegedly hissed. In the podcast Young says, “And what I had said to the press was that I was harassed. That I was sexually harassed by Warren Beatty. And she told me she thought that was disgusting.” Young adds that Streisand mentioned at the time that she herself had “been” with Beatty.
The Weinstein anecdote is mentioned around the five-minute mark; the Streisand story happens about a minute later.
“What we can’t have is the same old politics of division that we have seen so many times before. That dates back centuries. Some of the politics that we see now…we thought we put that to bed. That’s folks lookin’ 50 years back. It’s the 21st Century, not the 19th Century. C’mon!” — Barack Obama speaking yesterday in New Jersey for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy.
When an obviously crappy film comes along, my heart goes out to the cast members. They were paid reasonable fees, of course, and I realize that “a job is just a job,” but the Geostorm downside is that their faces and personas are being internationally splattered with exploitation mud. Gerard Butler can’t sink much lower, having lately made nothing but cheeseball action-disaster flicks. But poor Jim Sturgess! Ten years ago he was the hot new guy — Across the Universe, The Other Boleyn Girl, 21. Not to mention Abbie Cornish, Alexandra Maria Lara, Richard Schiff, Ed Harris and Andy García. I feel their discomfort.
From Peter Debruge‘s Variety review: “If you’ve ever wanted to see a tidal wave sweep over the horizon of a waterless desert or eggs frying on a superheated city street, Geostorm is the movie for you! And if you’re one of the millions of human beings on this planet who was recently impacted by hurricanes and tropical storms, well, Dean Devlin’s ill-timed destruct-a-thon (already delayed more than a year from its intended March 2016 release) succeeds in being even more callously insensitive/offensive than our president’s response to your plight. Then again, the only thing more reliable than bad weather is bad movies, and in that respect, Geostorm is right on forecast.”
If you need to pick up a parcel or special-delivery letter at a Los Angeles post office, for the most part you need to be there by 5 pm. (One or two close at 5:30, others close at 4 but most close at 5 — 95% open their doors between 9 and 10 am.)
That means, of course, that if you work a regular 9-to-5 job you’ll either have to pick up the parcel during lunch hour (and thereby lose the comfort of a relaxing lunch) or leave an hour early. And relatively few businesses, remember, close at 5 pm — most are open until 6 pm and some later than that.
It seems to me that governmental post offices should, if they wanted to be half-humane about it, give people a fighting chance to pick up parcels or special-delivery letters at the end of the day by remaining open until 6 pm. Or, at the very least, by remaining open until 6 pm on alternate days. (Tuesdays and Thursdays, say.) That would be the considerate thing. And yet for decades 5 pm closings have been the rule. The message from this governmental agency to the general public, obviously, is “our internal scheduling concerns are what matter to us…we realize we’re making things inconvenient if not difficult for untold thousands of post-office customers on a daily basis, but we’re not exactly in the people-pleasing business…are we? We do things our way and that’s that. Adapt or lose.”
While defending President Donald Trump‘s “brave” condolence call to a Gold Star family, Chief of Staff Gen. John Kelly attacked Rep. Frederica Wilson, calling her an “empty barrel.” Lawrence O’Donnell: “The word ‘brave’ has absolutely no application with the word ‘Trump.'”
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